Editor's Note: I remember back in the 1970's that when it came to Women's College Basketball, it may have not even exisited on anyones radar, except for one person. With one exception: Nancy Lieberman. It has to be said that her talent and presence helped give added credibility to the sport. Working with her for the first time on March 2, 2008, I told my wife that she was a hoot, and she reminded me so much of another native New Yorker I work with (Maureen Bevillard, Publisher of Sporting Youth Magazine). This is Nancy Lieberman's profile as published by the ESPN Networks. Last updated March 2, 2008.
Nancy Lieberman, one of the most recognized individuals in the history of women’s basketball, is a men’s and women’s basketball analyst for ESPN. She works on ESPN and ESPN2’s coverage of men’s and women’s college basketball, plus the WNBA.
Prior to joining ESPN, Lieberman served as a television analyst for women’s basketball during the 1988 and 1992 Summer Olympic Games. She has also done women’s basketball telecasts for ABC Sports, CBS Sports and Fox Sports.
Lieberman’s career on the court was one of the most distinguished ever. In the 1976 Summer Olympics, her first of two Olympic appearances (1980), she became the youngest basketball player in Olympic history to win a medal (silver), at age 18. She played her collegiate ball at Old Dominion University from 1976-1980, of the then Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW), where she led the Lady Monarchs to two AIAW championships (1979 and 1980) and one NWIT championship (1978).
Lieberman’s storied career at ODU included 2,430 points, 1,167 rebounds, 983 assists and over 700 steals in just 134 games. She is the only two-time winner of the Wade Trophy as well as a one-time Broderick Award recipient, given to the top female athlete in America, and a member of the Kodak All-American Anniversary team made up of the top 10 players in the history of women’s basketball.
At the professional level, Lieberman played in four basketball leagues. She first played for the Dallas Diamonds of the WBL and eventually the WABA, where she led the team to the 1984 WABA Championship. She led them in scoring and won the league’s MVP award. In 1986, Lieberman became the first woman ever to play in a men’s professional league when she joined the USBL’s Springfield Fame.
In January 1997, Lieberman was drafted by the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA’s inaugural draft, and played one season with the Western Conference champions, before becoming the general manager and head coach of the Detroit Shock, a position she held from 1998-2000. During her professional career, Lieberman averaged 15.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game. In June 1999, she was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame as a member of its inaugural class. Lieberman also has an award named after her, the Conseco Nancy Lieberman Award, given to the best female point guard in Division I.
A native of Queens, N.Y., Lieberman stays active in the community by coaching in basketball camps and working on charities such as The Jimmy V Foundation and Special Olympics.
Related Links: Nancy Lieberman's web site
Photograph Copyright 2008 by Christopher Byrne/Eye on Sports Media. All Rights Reserved.